Category Archives: news
BY TRACY LÓPEZ
(Originally published on CafeMagazine.com on June 21, 2010 as part of their World Cup coverage.)
In a world divided by borders and intolerance, there are rare moments to be savored which bring people together, and inspire an outpouring of love and unity. Often times it’s a natural disaster like an earthquake, such as the one that shook Haiti earlier this year. Other times we’re brought together by a political event, the death of someone loved around the world, or by a religious celebration – but sometimes we are unified by an amazing triumph, such as Mexico’s historic 2-0 win over France.
When East Germany erected a wall, then-President John F. Kennedy stood on the steps of the Rathaus Schöneberg in 1963 and, declaring his support for a free and united Germany, said “Ich bin ein Berliner” – or in English: “I am a Berliner.” In the shadow of the 9/11 attacks against the United States in 2001, as the entire world stood in disbelief and grief, many countries declared in solidarity, “On this day, we are all Americans.”
And on June 17, 2010, as “El Chicharito” Hernández scored the first goal and led “El Tri” to victory, it felt as if, for a brief moment as we shared in their pride and glory, that on this day, we were all Mexicans. In the words of the English singer Morrissey, “I wish I was born Mexican, but it’s too late for that now.”
From Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane, South Africa, to El Ángel de la Independencia in Mexico City, fans cried tears of joy and sang “Cielito Lindo.” Mexican-Americans, Latinos of all nationalities, (and believe it or not, a few gringos too), couldn’t help but be swept up in the moment, and maybe – just maybe – we shed a tear or two as well as we watched the triumphant band of brothers, their jerseys stuck to their bodies with sweat, embrace each other as the song, “One Day” by Matisyahu echoed over the pitch.
“…All my life I’ve been waiting for
I’ve been praying for
for the people to say
that we don’t wanna fight no more
they’ll be no more wars
and our children will play
-One Day by Matisyahu
What in the world do those three topics have in common?
I wrote about them as a new weekly contributor to Fox News Latino. For those who didn’t know, I have been writing op-eds for them in the Lifestyle section for the past three weeks. (For those who didn’t even know a Latino division of Fox News existed, or for those who knew but have remained skeptical about the content – I encourage you to check it out and give it a chance. It is not what most people expect.)
If you missed my first three posts, here are the links:
And in the future, check around on Fox News Latino on Thursdays or Fridays. That’s when my posts usually go up.
Thanks for your support, amigos! See you over there!
I’ve now had two days to recover from the Copa Oro games we went to on Sunday, pero todavia estoy completamente rendida.
The night before, I couldn’t sleep, half from excitement and half from anxiety about the tickets. Following the wise advice of a friend, we arrived hours early at the stadium. (Gracias to Rudy, who we actually got to meet briefly at the game.)
We went straight to the “Will Call” window and I gave them my I.D. I watched them shuffle around and come up empty-handed. I watched them check and re-check. I knew this would happen. They apologized that they didn’t have tickets for me under my name. I called the number of the on-site manager that State Farm had given me in case I ran into problems – he assured me he had the tickets on him. When we met him in the parking lot where State Farm had set up, true to his word, he had the tickets. I resisted kissing him and instead let him tell me about some of the fun things they were doing there.
I talked with someone about the sOccket ball and she showed me how it worked. I also got to check out the State Farm iPhone app, Kick4ACause which allows you to donate electricity just by playing the game. [See video of me playing]
As Carlos and I decided what to do next, a mini-Salvadoran pride parade broke out. Of course we joined in.
The parade went around the parking lot making all kinds of noise. At one point we clashed with a group of panameños, but after dancing with them for awhile, the parade continued on, much to the bewilderment of gringos trying to tailgate in peace.
When gringos tried to interact with Salvadorans though, the Salvadoran response always made me smile. When gringos shouted “U.S.A.!” – the Salvadorans didn’t feel threatened – they joined them in chants for the red, white and blue. I wonder if this made an impression on anyone in that parking lot who had expected a different reaction – to realize that it’s possible to have enough love for the place of your birth, language or culture – but feel equally proud of the country you now live in.
After the mini-parade we sought shade and a late [very expensive] lunch inside the stadium. We found our seats and waited.
While waiting, I observed a lot of Salvadorans who came prepared to not only cheer on El Salvador, but the United States as well. Many wore La Selecta T-shirts, but carried American flags. The “U.S.A.!” chant was alive and well in sections full of Salvadorans during the U.S. vs. Jamaica game.
The game itself was great, but the sky was so cloudy that I wasn’t able to access Twitter on my phone which was frustrating.
After the United States won, we were all full of happiness and hope for El Salvador.
Hearing the crowd sing the Himno Nacional de El Salvador made me tear up a little. To look around and know that all these Salvadorans were here together even though many, like Carlos, were far from their homeland… It’s difficult for me to put in words.
Being at the actual game instead of watching it on television is a unique experience. I’ve watched a lot of Salvadoran fútbol games on T.V. but never heard the crowd whistling in unison. Salvadorans have a unique way of whistling, (I wish I had caught it on video), but when you have thousands of people doing this, it sounds sort of like a forest full of parrots.
Speaking of whistling, at one point in the game, a Salvadoran player fell on top of a Panamanian player in a position that looked somewhat compromising. This got some funny responses from the crowd which I won’t repeat, but you definitely don’t get that on T.V. either.
As for the game – La Selecta missed a lot of opportunities on the field, but they did get this penalty shot which was very exciting.
Another highlight for me was seeing a guy run across the field with the Salvadoran flag. I know that’s frowned upon but it amused me, (and he was really fast. Maybe La Selecta should draft him?)
(You can’t see on my video, but you can see in others that the Panamanian goalie threw the U.S. flag out of the goal. That’s what the booing was about at the end of the video.)
El Salvador was ready to win… and then Panama scored a goal in the last minute… at least they say they scored a goal. I’ve watched the replay two dozen times and can’t decide if it was good or not. If only there was video of it from the other side – pero ni modo, what’s done is done. There’s no use being bitter about it.
Okay…maybe a little.
Here are some of my favorite photos I took during the game:
As you see, some guys had a banner that proclaimed Zelaya to be better than Chicharito. While I was there to support La Selecta with all my heart, I’m not so sure I agree. My Pitbull didn’t do much better. The game was full of excitement, tense moments, joy, disappointment – the poor Salvadorans around me went from elated to crushed over and over again. One guy often took his frustration out on the empty stadium seat in front of him. By the end of the game I was kind of surprised he hadn’t managed to rip it out as he repeatedly pounded on it screaming “P*TA! P*TA! P*TA! HIJUEP*TA!”
Carlos was calmer than that though I heard him say a few choice words under his breath after the final penalty shot shoot-out decided our fate.
Win or lose, it was an amazing experience. I know it was particularly special for Carlos. I asked him what it felt like being in the stadium surrounded by so many Salvadorans. He said it reminded him of home and the games he used to go to with his friends. The good thing about Salvadorans is that even though Carlos didn’t have his old friends with him, the guys seated around us were more than willing to fill-in for the day. I know Carlos to be a mostly quiet guy, but when he’s with other salvadoreños he opens up and is actually quite talkative. I love to see him uninhibited like that. [ Read Carlos's post about the day here.]
The game came to an end, but the brotherly love was far from over. On the way out of the stadium I was nearly crushed, (this panicked me for a minute but I knew Carlos would throw people left and right if I were in any danger.) … Then we missed the first Metro train because it was impossible to fit anymore people on it. We waited twenty more minutes for the pleasure of being crushed on the next train. Besides myself, I think there was only one other woman on the train – it was packed with young men wearing blue, and all of us, (myself included), were in serious need of some deodorant after a long day in the sun.
Despite the heat, lack of personal space, exhaustion and loss of the game, the group on the train remained in good spirits.
“Yo soy salvadoreño!” shouted one man still full of pride and warrior spirit, “Soy guerilla!”
A man from the other side of the train answered him back,
“Guerilla mi c*lo!”
(Don’t ask me to translate it to English. Somehow, it’s not as funny like that.)
Disclosure: I attended the Gold Cup games at the invitation of State Farm. All opinions are my own.
Via a press release yesterday, mun2, (Telemundo’s bilingual cable broadcast network aimed at young Latinos) – announced several awesome things – among them, an upcoming show that I’m really excited about. Chécalo!
From the press release:
“El Más Ching*n” [is] a competition reality series set to discover the next big Regional Mexican artist. It’s a talent search with a twist. Selecting contestants through an interactive online campaign, the road to regional stardom is filled with lifestyle challenges that include writing and performing, as well as horseback riding, media pressure tests and other identifiers of regional respect. Judged by celebrity personalities, the contestants will also be documented through behind-the-scenes rehearsals, back-story segments and confessionals, and tensions between the contestants, competing for one prize. Quién es el más chign*n?
I’m envisioning cute chicos vaqueros, some good Regional Mexican music, (and probably some bad Regional Mexican music from those who are NOT el más chingón), maybe some botas picudas… and… espera un momento! … They said “judged by celebrity personalities” … I wonder who? My fingers are crossed for a guest appearance by Espinoza Paz! Vamos a ver!
More about mun2, (because I like them and I identify with the term “culture connectors” that they use):
“…mun2 (moon-dos) is the lifestyle cable network for today’s culture connectors (C2s) – bicultural Latinos 18-34. As the bilingual network that amplifies the Latinos experience, mun2 is culturally-grounded and reflects the best of both worlds – mun2 is uniquely American. From reality to music, on-air to digital, mun2 creates original content across a multi-screen platform. As the only nationally measured bilingual cable network by Nielsen NTI, mun2 has an increased distribution to over 36 million households, and is a part of the Telemundo Communications Group, a division of NBCUniversal.”
I intended to share my trip chronologically but it wouldn’t be nice to make you wait more for the part you really want to hear about – la alfombra roja (red carpet), and the actual Latin Billboard Awards show.
Cuban sandwiches and other randomness, while worthy of sharing with you, are not as exciting as the main event, so here we go. (I’ll tell you about the sandwich más tarde.)
We arrived at the red carpet and first we were seated in the bleachers with the fans. After a little while, we were given the option to move to the press area where it would be possible to actually speak with celebrities who chose to stop, with the caveat that we would have to stand for over 2 hours. I didn’t think twice – I wanted to be with the press.
(Thanks to CityChicOnline.com for the dress!)
When I got to the press area my hands started to shake. I caught a glimpse of a white cowboy hat and my heart fluttered, thinking it was Espinoza Paz. One of the blogueras who has a lot more experience with these kinds of events, kindly gave me some advice, reminding me that to gain respect I couldn’t freak out.
I think I did pretty well, despite an unintentional gasp here and there – like when Prince Royce gave me a shout-out.
Many celebrities stopped to talk, even shaking hands and giving hugs or a kiss on the cheek. One handsome telenovela actor was so close to me that I could smell the cologne on his skin and it wasn’t like he had put too much on or anything, (can’t remember which actor it was pero qué rico se huele!) I chatted up the cast of the new mun2 show, RPM Miami for a minute or two – but you know my heart was set on finding Espinoza Paz and Pitbull.
Pitbull did walk by, but didn’t stop to chat.
And it was cool to meet El Trono de Mexico.
I told one of the guys from El Trono, “Me gustan tus botas picudas!” and he smiled.
More photos! (From Gloria Estefan to Marc Anthony and actors from telenovelas like Reina del Sur…
Here are some photos of the celebrities that came into the press area of the red carpet. Some stopped to talk, others just posed for photos. How many musicians and actors do you recognize?
Espinoza Paz never did pass by the press area – I’m not even sure he walked the red carpet. I felt a little heartbroken. I tried to spot him in the audience but wasn’t sure. At one point, I saw someone in a black cowboy hat come in late. I wonder if it was him?
I spotted Pitbull in his seat.
The stage set-up was super awesome. There were three stages and the one in the middle extended further into the audience. The stage had areas cut out that looked like little pools, where some very lucky fans got to stand. Stages left and right were cube shaped with walls that moved up and down. I loved the colorful lights and the feeling of the bass.
I video taped some of my favorite performances between tweeting:
One song I absolutely love that I neglected to video tape: Me Duele by Roberto Tapia. I loved the couples dancing quebradita during this performance.
The last performance of the evening – Pitbull. I don’t understand how he didn’t win anything. He brought the house down, (the shaky video is evidence of this. I was dancing.)
The last award of the night, “Artist of the Year” – went to Enrique Iglesias. To thank his fans he ran out into the audience. He ran by my section, maybe 20 feet away but I didn’t try to touch his hand. A lot of people were out of their seats and trying to do just that. I like Enrique but not enough to risk falling down stairs or getting crushed. Had it been Espinoza, that’s another story.
Disclosure: I went to the Latin Billboard Awards in Miami at the invitation of Telemundo. All opinions are my own.
I use the word “gringa” to describe myself – knowing that some people are uncomfortable with the word. I’ve simply found it to be the best description of who I am. To me, its meaning is a non-native Spanish speaker, (or one who doesn’t speak Spanish at all.) It helps me identify myself as non-Latina, but someone with enough interest in the language and culture to have learned the word and have a sense of humor about it.
Some claim that the word “gringo” has negative connotations due to the way this word entered the lexicon. There is an urban legend that says the Mexican Army told American soldiers to leave the country saying, “Green – GO! [home]” (green for the color of their uniforms.) There is no proof that this is actually true. (Read other etymological possibilities here.)
I don’t like the words “White” or “Caucasian” because of the focus on skin color. I prefer not to use Anglo because it isn’t descriptive enough. I also avoid using “American” or “Americana” – because those from Canada, Mexico, Central America and South America are all “Americans” too. (Some even dislike that the United States has co-opted this word for its citizens, but calling oneself a “United Statesian” is awkward.)
And so this is why I use the word “gringa” and feel that it doesn’t have a bad connotation unless used in certain contexts.
Not everyone agrees with me. Recently columnist Daisy Hernandez, (co-editor of Colonize This! Young Women on Today’s Feminism), used the word “gringo” in what I would consider “appropriate context” – as a result there has been quite a controversy.
Read what happened on NPR, and come back to weigh in. What do you think? Should she have avoided use of the word, or was it appropriate?
Discuss in comments.
(Thanks to Aisha for sending me the link to this news story.)
Here are the most chévere things I discovered in 2010.
• My go-to drink used to be the Shirley Temple, but after drinking about a dozen virgin Mojitos in Miami, I have a new favorite.
• As for “real” drinks, Tecate & Corona are still numero uno for me.
• My cipote-friendly choice is still horchata (Salvadoran, not Mexican.)
• Return to Sender by Julia Alvarez
•The Madonnas of Echo Park by Brando Skyhorse
• My Name is Pablo by Aimee Sommerfelt
(Non-Latino Fiction picks):
• Nectar in a Sieve by Kamala Markandaya
• The Hunger Games (series) by Suzanne Collins
• The Help by Kathryn Stockett
• The Other Side of Immigration (documentary)
• The Karate Kid (Jackie Chan)
(Really too many to mention, but these are the first three that came to mind)…
(I like this video of Espinoza performing on Mun2, because it looks like the host, Yarel, has a crush on him as much as I do.)
I considered listing favorite blogs, but you can already check those out on the Link Love page, (and there’s no güey I’m choosing only three!) …That being said, I want to thank all of you who visit me here at Latinaish.com.
The very best thing about 2010 is the community I’m blessed to be a part of and all the people around the world that I consider amigos para siempre. Gracias por tu amistad – it has more value to me than an entire box of Bubu Lubus.
How about you? What do you consider lo mejor de 2010?
My love of fútbol was made well-known during this year’s World Cup. Since then I have had to find other ways to entertain myself, from playing fútbol with the kids, to watching Javier Hernández play for Manchester United, (I like him better with El Tri, but I’ll take my “Chicharito” any way I can get him.)
I also spent some time encouraging people to sign a petition in support of our bid to bring the World Cup to the United States in 2022, which we ended up losing to Qatar. ¡Qué desilusión! … I have to say though, their proposed stadiums are absolutely breathtaking.
Still don’t feel better about losing our bid for the World Cup? Okay, here are some events to look forward to: The 2011 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, the 2011 Copa América and the Women’s World Cup 2011!
Speaking of women, I just saw a report this evening about a Salvadoran woman named Eva Linares. Ms. Linares is newsworthy because she is the only female fútbol commentator in El Salvador, most likely the only one in Central America, and possibly even the only one in all of Latin America. I think she is super chévere.
All of you remember how excited I was about the Chilean Miner, Edison Peña appearing on David Letterman, right? Remember the hilarious video I shared with you and the charming female translator we fell in love with? Well, I managed to find her and had the distinct pleasure of interviewing her for Latinaish.com!
Cassandra was hired to translate for Edison Peña by the David Letterman Show through Geneva Worldwide, a company in New York that provides interpreters, translators and other language services. They kindly put me in touch, and Cassandra generously agreed to answer a few questions. I was surprised to find out that interpreting is just one of many things Cassandra does. I think you’ll find her as interesting, amazing, clever, and fun as I did. Here is the interview below.
Latinaish.com: Hello, Cassandra! Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview. After seeing your appearance on David Letterman as the translator for Chilean miner Edison Peña, the internet has been buzzing with the question, “Who is that translator?” … Everyone loved you and I’m so pleased to speak with you. Please, tell us a little about yourself.
Cassandra: Hola, everybody! ¿Qué tal? Mucho gusto y muchas gracias, Sra. López. First of all, Congratulations for creating este espacio de reflexión on having one foot on each side of the cosmic cultural canyon! I think we all do in one way or another, even if we don’t know it.
Pues, la pura verdad es que estoy un poco chiveada pero, bueno, here goes. Soy Cassandra, a sculptor by trade who freelances as an interpreter for Indigenous Peoples in United Nations negotiations on the environment and human rights. I have also been known to sell roses at the farmers’ market and teach English to Otomi mariachis at dawn.
I am currently building my dentist a yacht. So forgive the unabashed self-promotion but if you have work for me, definitely holler. No job too small. Según el sapo, la pedrada. I can travel at the drop of a hat and have my own translating equipment. http://cassandra-the-translator.blogspot.com/
Además if you wanna see me out of UN drag, verify that women do, in fact, weld, commission a major monument or personal altar or just check out my sculptures, pica la salsa aquí: http://www.cassandraproductions.net/ OJO: Bronze statues ain’t chilaquiles. So piensa en what a small used car costs.
Latinaish.com: Now, we know that you speak Spanish since we saw you translate for Edison Peña. How did you come to learn Spanish? Are there any other languages you speak? Have you always loved language?
Cassandra: Aprendí a medio-masticar español cotorreando en las calles de Tenochtitlan. When I was 19, I went to México with three words: hola, amigo, and adios which, when you think about it, sort of covers the span of el convivir. I wanted to read Neruda without translation and hunt down l@s niet@s de Siquieros. For twelve years, I basked in México’s phenomenal legacy of la plástica concientizadora.
Por otro lado, I am the sheepish runt of a long line of linguists. I can chew the fat in French and Portuguese, too. I adore the crazy salad of speaking several languages all at once because it makes the colors in your paintbox shimmer infinitely.
Creo que slang is the cutting edge of language, the wiry green potato shoots of parlance. Homemade slang allows you to playfully skate the idiom and plasmar tu realidad mágica in your own terms. I especially love el huapango del albur.
Asímismo considero que la alegría es el secreto de la resistencia – joy is the secret of resistance -y contar un buen chiste que ilumina una sonrisa o un knee-slapping carcajada es unos de los mejores regalos que se puede brindar. I also have a special fondness for translating prayers.
Perhaps this sounds nerdy but etymology actually excites me. Digging for the twists and turns of meaning is like foraging for sassafras in the swamp. It gets you muddy, makes you bow in reverence to the Earth and, ultimately, heals you.
Para mi, consciousness of origins goes hand and hand with la vida’s invitation to Signify. There is nothing more deadening than the flight from significance and the copout of being innocuous As Le Chic says, “Don’t be a drag, participate.” Daring to give a damn is where it is at.
Latinaish.com: What is the best thing about being a translator/interpreter?
Cassandra: The best thing about being an interpreter is bringing people together and helping the voiceless have a voice. Ya sabes, ¡la traducción de la liberación!
Latinaish.com: What is the most challenging thing about being a translator/interpreter?
Cassandra: Whether at the UN or at the grassroots, getting caught in the crossfire can be dangerous and draining. Sometimes I really wanna hold up a sign that says “Don’t shoot me, I’m only the piano player!”
Latinaish.com: Are there any Spanish accents/dialects you like best?
Cassandra: I enjoy working with Indigenous Peoples because the poetry of their cosmovisión moves me.
Latinaish.com: How did you feel appearing on David Letterman? Is this your most exciting moment as a translator/interpreter so far or have there been others?
Cassandra: Truth is bright lights don’t float my boat. What turns me on as an interpreter is when people feel each other. Memorable moments include sitting on a dock on a bay watching dolphins play in the turquoise waves while helping an Inuit and a Kuna compare notes on kayaks and canoes. Another special chat was between a German geneticist and a Zapotec curandero on the effects of consuming GMO corn. (They both agreed it hinders digestion and depresses you aka te empacha y te debilita el espíritu.) I also treasure the time I translated for Berito KuwarU’wa in front of the International Court of Justice.
Latinaish.com: So many readers and friends of Latinaish.com have said to me both publicly and privately that they adore you. Did you realize how many people were charmed by your performance on David Letterman, or were you shocked at the response?
Cassandra: I am thrilled that Edison rocked the house. The man has been there and come back. (Goya and Dante ain’t got nothing on this dude.) One can only be dazzled by his wonderfulness and luminous afán to live life to the hilt. So, frankly, I didn’t give a thought to myself. But the other day at the Laundromat, I heard Carol King sing “Show the world all the love in your heart!” and realized that is certainly my aspiration.
Latinaish.com: The way you and Edison Peña interacted, you seemed like old friends! After working closely with a client, do you often have the opportunity to stay in touch? If not, do you ever feel a little sad to have made friends and then have to say goodbye?
Cassandra: Pues, I am very blessed to interpret for people that I care about and believe in so I almost never conceive of them as a “client” and almost always stay friends for life.
Latinaish.com: Cassandra, thank you again for taking the time to speak with me. It is a real pleasure and I know my readers would also like to extend their thanks and good wishes to you. Buena suerte in everything you do!
Cassandra: Thank you! ¡Pórtense mal y cuídense bien!